The Hour is Late
By Steve Meehan
It is 0’Dark Thirty, and we have just slipped into this undisclosed airbase within the enemy’s territory, under the cover of darkness, with our jumbo jet’s exterior lights turned off to try to elude the bad guy’s detection. This airfield in Afghanistan is a beehive of activity, as is usual, when we fly in to drop off needed hardware and supplies. The early morning hours and the blackness of night makes no difference to the combatants waging the war, nor to those engaged in fighting off their advances.
F-16s go thundering down the runway, with a deafening roar of their engines ripping open the quietness of the still air, while their afterburners cut a swath of bright light through the thick dark of the early morning. Unmanned drones are taking off and landing repeatedly during our three to four hours on the ground, in their attempts to pinpoint the position of the extremists out in the surrounding mountainous terrain. Helicopters are constantly on the move, coming in and going away from the base, flying personnel and equipment to remote locations. Aerostats are tethered 1500 feet above the airfield, collecting data, using cameras and sensors, to feed information back to the base about the local weather and unusual activity being sensed in the surrounding region. Even the base’s anti-rocket and mortar defenses are continuously in a state of readiness to shoot down anything that poses a threat to the base and its inhabitants.
But, in spite of all the hardware that is on this base to fight the bad guys, and all the efforts of those involved – all the training that has gone on, all the sorties being flown, and all the money being spent to try to thwart the enemy’s advances – I’m left wondering after departing these bases whether or not we are making any difference at all there or even globally to stem the onrushing tide of terror and violence. Are we even making a dent? Are we slowing down the enemy and his encroachments?
The same line of questioning and wondering can be applied in the spiritual sense also. It is 0’Dark Thirty in the Church Age and to the buildup to the soon arrival of the oncoming darkness of the Tribulation period. The enemy is waging an unrelenting war in the battle for souls. He has honed his craft of deception over the centuries and is pulling out all the stops to influence, coerce, entrap, deceive and mislead millions into a Christ-less eternity. Is the Church – the Body of all believers in Christ – even making a dent in the advancement and encroachment of the evil enveloping the world? Have some of its troops, as it were, gone AWOL and are sitting on the sidelines as the enemy’s forces gain more ground and establish strongholds in all theaters of operation?
As Christians, we are soldiers for Christ. We have been commissioned to advance the gospel of Christ and to make disciples in all nations:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19
We have an enemy who doesn’t, of course, want this kind of activity to prosper; in fact, he wants the opposite. He knows that he is a defeated foe and that he will wind up in the Lake of Fire. His main driving force, in the time that he has left before his date with destiny, is to thwart God’s ambitions for man and the gospel of Christ, and to take as many of God’s creation with him to this horrific and eternal abode in Hell.
We are fighting in his territory; we are behind enemy lines in all regions of the globe. He has been described as the “god of this world”:
“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)
His title deed to the planet was acquired through obfuscation, when he conned the first of God’s created beings known as man, with the first of his deceiving tactics to be used on these new creatures. He has had centuries to perfect his craft in beguiling humanity and to wreak havoc across the globe. Millions have fallen prey to his devices, and in these end times, he has ratcheted up his fervor to snuff out the light of Christ’s saving gospel. We can plainly see, throughout the world, the devastation he is leaving in his wake; it will only get worse, much worse, with the onset of the final seven years before the return of Christ to the Earth.
He has his minions, a demonic force – up to a third of the angels followed Lucifer’s rebellion to God – positioned at key points globally, to carry out their master’s plan. They fight an unconventional style warfare, using stealth and spiritual wickedness:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12)
They don’t tire; they don’t seek a truce; don’t call for a peace treaty; are not interested in drawing up demilitarized zones of no conflict; nor any other device normally used during periods of conventional battles. Theirs is an all-out war with the aim of destroying as many souls as they can possibly achieve. They take no prisoners in the usual sense, except for to gather as many humans as possible and to have them imprisoned in the same final abode that they will ultimately find themselves existing.
For the Christians, who have been blood bought by the cross of Christ, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, but have a huge target on our backs to warrant special attention by these enemy forces. They don’t want us to draw nearer to the Lord, nor especially carry out the Great Commission in winning souls to Christ. We can’t move about stealthily in this endeavor; they know what we are up to and try to impede us at every step. Spiritual landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices are ever laid before us in an attempt to stop us in our tracks from spreading forth the gospel.
Unlike rocket propelled grenades and stinger missiles, the enemy of our souls uses “fiery darts” to dissuade us and cripple our service to the Lord. These darts include deception, discouragement, illness, troubles and whatever else the enemy can find in his quiver to trip us up and to keep us out of the battle for winning souls and increasing Christ’s Kingdom. Although unseen when fired, these darts have been extremely effective and have caused many casualties. The enemy knows exactly when to deploy them and they never miss their mark. How we react to these weapons of warfare, though, determine how successful we will be in carrying out our orders.
The Bible talks about what kind of countermeasures we can implement in this never ending battle, or at least on this side of eternity. Ephesians 6 details the contents of our “mobility bags” (a military term for a bag that carried items for wear and other essentials needed at a moment’s notice for a rapid, unannounced deployment) necessary for an effective defense against the enemy’s onslaught:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Ephesians 6:10-18)
How well we wield these provisions of the Lord to fight off the enemy’s attacks will determine how effective we are in our service to Jesus. Many have used those countermeasures wisely and have influenced many souls to accept Christ and His gospel for their salvation. Others, maybe not so much and fell by the wayside, suffering crippling blows and were rendered less effective in the battle, or got out altogether.
For the students of Bible prophecy, we can see and sense that the end is near for this parenthetical period of the Church Age, and know that Daniel’s prophesied last seven years of Tribulation will soon be upon us. Which means, the Rapture of Christ’s Church is extremely near. The hour is very late; it won’t be long at all until our mission is complete. The Church Age will have concluded.
How well have we done? How well are we doing?
Looking around at the landscape, we see evil advancing in every quarter. Every facet of society and every corner of the globe seems to be inundated with mayhem and chaos. Confusion reigns in the halls of government; corrupt politicians have replaced strong leaders. Climate Change, in political correct speak, we are being told, presents a greater danger than Islamic Extremism.
America, where a large percentage of the population claim to be Christian, put a relatively unknown person in the White House, reelected him, and has suffered for the change that he promised to bring about. The further moral decline of the nation has been his legacy, complete with the promotion of homosexual and trans-gender rights, along with instances of race-baiting from him and his administration, and his seemingly never ending support for all things Islamic – and this from a guy who also claims to be Christian.
You would think that the larger population of those who identify themselves as Christians, would have a louder and more effective voice in derailing the aims and ambitions of the small minority who have negatively influenced the law of the land. The strong position and a force for good in the world that America once had, is waning due to the policies of the current regime in power, and is instead being methodically weakened to move in lockstep to the whims of those who seek a globalist agenda and to take away sovereignty from individual nations. For those of us who love this country, it is sickening to observe. Clearly, the enemy is getting his agenda accomplished in America.
Churches that once held true to Biblical teaching, are falling into apostasy, and leading their flocks away from scriptural truth to adopt teachings that conflict with the Holy Word. Prosperity gospels, emergent movements and other errors have replaced the gospel that Christ and His apostles taught, spread and died for. Mainline churches are also finding themselves being lured along the Ecumenical road to Rome, accepting and being coerced by Roman Catholicism as a legitimate form of Christianity, and nothing could be further from the truth.
Roman Catholicism has to be Satan’s masterpiece, in his counterfeit offering of Christianity. Many who would identify themselves as a Christian have been deceived into believing that theirs is the True Church of Christ. And yet, once sound Christian denominations are being enticed to “Go Home to Rome” in the pope’s ecumenical drive to bring all under their control. How has the influence of true Christians during this Church Age not hampered or slowed down this development?
The enemy has also used his other false religion of Islam to wreak havoc throughout the world. He has become very adept at using religion to deceive millions – it has to be his favorite form of deception! We all know about the destruction and the killing of innocents that this religion has wrought, and yet, we are told by the Western world leaders that Islam is a religion of peace. Has the Christian influence stemmed the tide at all of this slow moving tsunami? It doesn’t appear to be so.
The list could go on and on about the advancements being made by Satan’s forces. The world’s condition is deplorable and looking bleaker by the day. We can’t fathom how utterly horrible life will become once the Tribulation period is underway, but we are now seeing glimpses of what must lie ahead.
Presently, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is still indwelling the Body of Christ – the Church – and is holding back the all-out evil that will arise during the final seven years before Christ returns, but with each passing day, we become even more cognizant of the evil that has replaced good.
The enemy is out there; he is lurking. He is seeking to devour:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1Peter5:8)
Be on guard. equip yourself with the whole armor of God. Our role is to advance the gospel, not to save the planet. While I don’t like seeing what is happening in the world and especially here in America, we also know that this is not our final home and that our mission is to carry out the commission Christ has tasked us with in bringing people into His Kingdom. The world is imploding and exploding all around us, and while it can be disheartening to observe, we know that the condition of life and of the world will only worsen as the Tribulation hour draws near. And when it does occur, you don’t want to be here.
In spite of the worsening condition of life on this planet and the apparent lateness of the hour, with the short time we have left before that call of “Come Up Hither”, the Church needs to remain focused and win as many souls to Christ by the spreading of His Gospel. Now is not the time for some R&R; a lot of unknowing people are going to be thrust headlong into a seven-year period that even Christ said, if it were not cut short, even the very elect would perish. There will be millions saved during that time, but life as we know it, will become extremely difficult – unparalleled since the foundation of the world. Those who become Christians during those dark days will be martyred for their faith. A global holocaust will ensue, to exterminate all those who refuse the mark of the Beast.
We must be about the Father’s business. We have to be a part of Christ’s commission. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can rescue souls from the clutches of the enemy.
The enemy and his forces are out there; we can’t elude their detection. Part of the armor of God didn’t include a cloak of invisibility. Those who remain in the battle for souls have been targeted and are squarely in the crosshairs. They’re not using night vision goggles to watch us, nor infrared sensors to check our every movement. They are furious with our attempts to save souls for Christ, and if you are actively engaged in the soul-saving operation, chances are extremely high that you will come under attack. Anything and everything at their disposal will be used to sideline your effectiveness.
But, we have the Lord on our side and He is ready to fight our battles for us. We can stay strong in the Lord and there are no chinks in His armor, if we implement them properly. There are still 2/3s of the angelic force left who remained loyal to God after Lucifer’s rebellion, and I’m no math major, but that is a higher number than those who chose to side with the enemy of our souls. We also have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to comfort us, guide us and seal us until the day of redemption. I’d say those are pretty good odds that we can withstand the evil in the present day. We may get harassed and bruised, during the battle, but our victory and outcome are secure.
Let us stay involved until that trumpet blasts. It won’t be very much longer. End time signs are swirling about us. The Gog/Magog coalition is already in view. All nations, including America, are turning their backs on Israel. Even mainline Christian churches are distancing themselves from the Jewish people, through divestments and boycotts. Apostasy is fully underway, and a Harlot church is coalescing before our eyes, seeking new members to join her. Nations are paving the path for the Antichrist, and it is only a matter of time before he rears his ugly head.
Do all for the glory of Christ.